Overall I’ve been really impressed with the Carrion 65L Rucksack from Mountain Warehouse, which offers an awful lot of functionality, carry capacity and comfort for a backpack that is considerably cheaper than most similar-sized and specced packs on the market. Brilliant for backpacking adventures of two or more days, where you need to carry a tent, sleeping bag, camping mat, stove and various other essentials, the Carrion 65L can accommodate an astonishing amount of kit, with multiple pockets to help you keep things organized, and a comfortable, ventilated harness to haul it all around.
Large, extendable main storage area
Top and side access to main compartment
Loads of pockets inside and out
External carry hoops for trekking poles, etc
Rain cover included
Slightly busy feel, with one too many pockets on the front
No recycled content
No hook for hydration bladder
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Mountain Warehouse Carrion 65L Rucksack: first impressions
My initial thoughts upon inspecting the Mountain Warehouse Carrion 65L Rucksack was that the designers had gone a bit overboard with the inclusions, trying to please everyone by chucking the kitchen sink at this hiking backpack.
• List price: $99.99 (US) / £119.99 (UK)
• Volume: 65L / 2.3cu
• Weight: 2kg / 4lb 6.5oz
• Dimensions (HxWxD): 68m x 41cm x 38cm / 27in x 16in x 15in
• Sizes: One, with an adjustable harness
• Colors: Charcoal / Pale Green
Covered in a myriad of pockets, pouches, hooks, hoops and straps, it’s certainly a busy-looking bag, and hikers and travellers who prefer a clean, straightforward design will probably find it fiddly and fussy.
Having now used the Carrion 65L on some overnight hiking adventures, however, I have changed my mind on this somewhat, and learned to love the many features and facilities of this very capable pack.
In terms of functionality and build quality, it feels almost on par with some of the best hiking backpacks on the market, but it has a considerably lower price tag than large packs from brands such as Osprey and Deuter, and it can often be found heavily discounted, making it a really attractive and practical option for people new to multi-day hiking and those on a budget.
Mountain Warehouse Carrion 65L Rucksack: on the trails
I’ve taken the Mountain Warehouse Carrion 65L Rucksack on various multi-day hiking escapades, including an excellent wild camping trip on Dartmoor. On test, I found this reasonably priced hiking backpack to be more than capable of hauling all the gear I required for overnight adventures and backpacking expeditions.
The large main compartment has a double toggle closure system on the top, which means you can extend the carry capacity if you really need to (I’d advise against this if at all possible when hiking, as it can really affect your balance – or at least make sure you pack the rucksack properly, with heavier items stowed lower down – but it can be useful when you’re travelling).
The massive main compartment can be accessed from the top, or via a zipped side pocket, which is really useful for finding inadvertently buried items when you suddenly realize that you need them while out in the wilds – it means you can locate whatever it is you’re rummaging for without emptying the contents of the pack onto the trailside.
There is a multitude of pockets on the Carrion, which makes organizing your kit easier when you’re backpacking – allowing you to keep items such as head torches, rain jackets and waterproof trousers somewhere easily accessible. These include two pockets in the hood (one on the inside and one on the outside), a large pouch on the front (with an extra tiny pocket on top of it) and a pair of good-sized pockets on the hip wings (ideal for carrying trail snacks, a compass and a phone) – all of which zip shut. I still think the smallest pocket on the front of the pack is a bit superfluous, but it doesn’t do any harm.
All the zips on this pack feature large pull tabs, which can be easily operated with gloved hands. In addition to the closed pockets there are bottle-carrying pouches on either side of the pack, plus an inner pouch for carrying a hydration bladder (although, annoyingly, there’s no hook to hang the reservoir from), and a portal for the hose on the right shoulder.
On the outside of the pack you’ll find straps for carrying trail tools such trekking poles and ice axes, and various hoops and loops that can be used to hook flashlights and other items on to. There are compression straps on the side, too, that not only help you keep the contents of the pack well contained, but can also be called into action to help hold items such as closed-cell camping mats in place.
The Carrion comes in one size only, but the harness can be raised or lowered quickly and easily. The waist belt is wide and comfortable, incorporating two wings that help seat the backpack properly on your hips, and the sternum strap is very easy to adjust. Two shoulder wings keep the pack proud of your back (slightly), to allow some airflow and cut down on sweating.
The main straps are made with a mesh outer fabric to facilitate some ventilation as well, and they’re well padded for greater comfort. The whole harness and backrest system might not be quite as sophisticated and well ventilated as the ones you’ll find on premium packs from Osprey and Deuter, but it’s still comfortable to wear, even on long days on the trail.
Something the Carrion 65L does have that many more expensive backpack brands skimp on (and, annoyingly, try and sell you separately) is a rain cover, which is found in a zipped pocket on the very bottom of the pack.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.